Adirondack Land Trust seeks input on Glenview Preserve property
By Tim Rowland
At a public hearing in Saranac Lake Wednesday, the Adirondack Land Trust began planning the future of an iconic tract of high ground on Route 86 north of the village, “where everyone comes to take a picture.”
“I look at that view every morning and I’m astounded at how beautiful it is,” said Ed Grant, who’s lived across from the Glenview Preserve off and on since 1975. Cars pulling off the highway to gaze at a classic mountain panorama prompted locals to name a roadside boulder “Kodak Rock.”
With Glenview on one side and Donnelly’s Ice Cream on the other, it is among the park’s most consequential stretches of highway. But as housing issues have pushed more Lake Placid employees north to Malone, it is also among the busiest, a point that has some neighbors concerned that improvements to Glenview might attract even more congestion.
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“I can see a lot of people going there,” said LeeAnne Baker, a neighbor of the preserve, who hoped the Trust might limit the size of any new parking area.
The ALT purchased the 238-acre tract in 2016, and while it has remained closed to the public as its ecological values have been assessed, it is expected that it will be opened at some point, with some low-impact improvements such as trails and off-road parking.
ALT Executive Director Mike Carr said the trust wants to listen to what the community has to say before developing any proposals for its ultimate use.
Of the dozen residents who attended the meeting, several were concerned about added traffic, litter and potentially undesirable behavior on the part of visitors. But there were areas of agreement as well, most notably the need to get cars — which residents say can line the shoulder seven or eight at a time — off the road, and preservation of the view.
Neighbors were also appreciative of the diverse habitat, which includes farm fields, young forests recovering from heavy logging and boglands that butt up against the Bloomingdale Bog rail trail.
Dave Winchell, a neighbor and ALT volunteer, said the habitat is conducive to unique birding opportunities, citing the savannah sparrow in the meadows, morning warblers in the forest and American bittern in the bog.
The preserve is also home to bobcat, bear, fisher, moose and coyote. “The variety is amazing,” Winchell said. “People will have a great opportunity to enjoy the wildlife.”
In response to questioning, ALT Conservation Program Director Chris Jage said the trust intends to protect the preserve in perpetuity. Selling to the state is not an option, because Forever Wild provisions against tree cutting would, over the years, destroy the view.
In the hands of the Trust, the property can be exposed to gentle management. “We envision not only preserving, but enhancing the habitat,” said Stewardship Manager Derek Rogers.
Possible ideas for the land include trails, many of which would be inclusive of a wide range of hiker abilities, plein air painting opportunities, boardwalks, yoga spaces and educational programming.
“Right now we’re trying to determine what people want to see in it and what they don’t want to see in it,” Jage said. “The condition it’s kept in and everything about it reflects on our reputation. We want (future use) to be interesting, but also respectful.”
High-impact uses such as camping are not in the cards, and while the Trust has received numerous requests for use as a wedding venue, Jage sounded doubtful that private parties would be part of the plan. “Weddings are not in our mission statement,” he said.
As plans develop, more public meetings will take place to hear community sentiment. “The only thing we’re doing now is listening,” Jage said.
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